Why do High Chairs Recline?
Updated: Jan 16, 2021
As we were scoping the web to purchase a High Chair for our newborn child, we came across High Chairs with a recline feature and High Chairs without. With many brands claiming different use cases for this recline feature, we got a little confused about what to believe.
So in order to get a final answer on this topic, we just went to the nearest baby store and asked a professional to inform us about this topic. This is what she told us:
A recline function allows you to place infants in a High Chair for bottle feeding and easy interaction. The recline function should not be used for naps as it has a negative effect on sleep quality, nor should it be used for feeding solid food as it increases the risk of suffocation.
It is pretty cool to have a High Chair for bottle feeding and some quick playtime with your child. A couple of free hands during your busy morning routine is a gift of heaven! However, it is also best to understand when not to use the recline function as the wrong use can have some serious and long term negative effects on the health of your child.
A reclining High Chair, is it worth it?
Every product feature has its benefits and drawbacks, the same is true for High Chairs with a recline function. Below we will list all the pro’s and cons we found after talking to professionals and many other parents who use one.
Longer lifespan: A High Chair with a recline function can be used when your child is only a couple of weeks old. When reclined, your child has its neck and had fully supported, this way you don’t have to wait until you child is ready to sit independently before using a High Chair.
Easy bottle feeding: When you place your baby in a reclined High Chair, bottle feeding becomes easier. Your little one is safely strapped in while you can feed the bottle with just one hand. Some parents even place the bottle on a towel so that the baby can drink alone while they prepare the lunch for the rest of the crew.
Convenient and safe interaction: Interacting with your child when he or she is in a bouncer or a crib is not quite the same as when you use a High Chair with a reclining feature. With the High Chair your child is almost on the same level as you, which is convenient to keep an eye on each other. Many parents love it when their baby can hang around when they are cooking or doing laundry. For the baby, it can be soothing to see what mom or dad is doing.
Unlike baby bouncers, High Chairs are already at a good level for interacting. Many parents still place bouncers on countertops or tables, where they absolutely don’t belong. With a High Chair that can recline, this risky behavior becomes unnecessary.
Easier cleaning: Some parents also find it a useful feature for cleaning the High Chair. When the back is reclined, everything is a bit easier to reach, including that corner between the back support and seat! A
Better usability: Moving your child in and out of the High Chair can be a real pain. You have to remove the tray (often with your child in one arm), place it somewhere nearby, place your child and then install it back while your little pumpkin is doing all it can to prevent you from succeeding. (because that is what babies do :-))
Let’s not even start about how poor some of these trays work! This is where a recline function can come in handy, just recline the back and you have all the space you need to take out your child. Next time you have to place her or him back into the chair? No problem, the back is already at the right position!
Cost: High Chairs with a recline function are often a bit more expensive, if you don’t mind bottle feeding your child while holding him or her, maybe it is not worth the extra money.
Is it safe to feed my child when in a recline position?
It’s only safe to feed your child a bottle when he or she is in a reclined High Chair. As soon as you starts with solid food, the recline function should no longer be used for feeding purposes as this increases the risk of food entering the windpipe which in turn can lead to suffocation.
That said, it is also recommended not to bottle feed your child in a High Chair each and every meal as this is the moment when you and your child are bonding. This is a crucial step in the development of your child and before you know it, these beautiful moments belong to the past. So, enjoy it is much as you can while it lasts!
Can I let my child nap in a reclined High Chair?
We all know this scenario! Your child is having a meal, either the bottle or either solids, and right after, or even during a meal, your sweetheart passes out. Food coma has kicked in and your child just cannot fight the sleep anymore.
Even though it's convenient to let your child nap in a reclined High Chair, it is not a smart choice. If there’s still food the child’s mouth, reclining the seat can lead to suffocation. Always check if the child's mouth is empty before taking it out of the High Chair to place it in a crib for a sound sleep.
For infants it is also better not to let them nap in a High Chair. The best position for sleeping is horizontal as this fully opens up the airways which allows for better breathing and thus a better sleep quality.
Besides proper breathing and a sound sleep, laying flat in a crib has another more surprising benefit. Whenever there is a "reflux" (or just vomiting after a meal) it is much safer for your child to be laying down flat, rather than being in an inclined position as inclined sitting can cause suffocation.
There is also a more cosmetic side effect of having your infant nap in a reclined High Chair all the time. The cup shape or the seat will not allow for your child’s head to turn to the side. This means there is always pressure on the same soft spot of your babies head. This can lead to a flat spot on the back of the head.
As you can see, there are more than enough reasons not to use a High Chair for napping. It might be convenient for you but its is by no means a gift to your child.
For a more in depth understanding of sleeping and High Chairs, you can have a look at this article we wrote over here.
Is it worth to buy a High Chair with a recline function?
It really depends on your personal preferences. The biggest advantages are for you, not for your child. If you think that one or more of the above mentioned pro’s are applicable to you, then it might be worth the extra buck but also know that it is not a necessity to have.
If you enjoyed this article and it helped you to get a broader view on things, then please share and help us spread the love. Thanks for Reading!
Johns Hopkins All Childre’s Hospital, RachelDawkins, M.D., 2018,The importance of sleep for kids, Accessed 18/08/2020, https://www.hopkinsallchildrens.org/ACH-News/General-News/The-importance-of-sleep-for-kids
J.Fares, M. Y Fares, Y Fares, 2017, Musculoskeletal neck pain in children and adolescents: Risk factors and complications, Surgical Neurology International, Accessed 18/08/2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5445652/
Zachry, A.H., Nolan, V.G., Hand, S.B. et al. Infant Positioning, Baby Gear Use, and Cranial Asymmetry. Matern Child Health J 21, 2229–2236 (2017), accessed 20/08/2020 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-017-2344-6
N. J. Scheers, PhD, George W. Rutherford, MS, James S. Kemp, MD; 2003; Where Should Infants Sleep? A Comparison of Risk for Suffocation of Infants Sleeping in Cribs, Adult Beds, and Other Sleeping Locations, Accessed 20/08/2020, https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/112/4/883